Cleveland, OH - Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley and Cleveland Division of Police Chief Calvin Williams announced that a Cuyahoga County grand jury has returned an indictment charging Antonio Rodriguez, 18, Demerio Sancheze Lewis Watkins, 20, Donald Haley III, 20, Jorge Gonzalez, 23, Oscar Pruitt Jr., 23, Kato Laws, 24, Juan Fontanez, 26, and Timothy Looby, 26, for Participating In A Criminal Gang and committing numerous other felony offenses that occurred between December 2019 and March 2021.
“Gun violence has increased dramatically over the last few years and can largely be attributed to these criminal gangs and their gun-toting members,” said Prosecutor O’Malley, “We are dedicated to eliminating these gangs to make our community a safer place.”
“The efforts of the Operation Legend Task Force continue to yield results. Cleveland Division of Police investigators, along with partnering agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to work hard in order to take gangs out of our neighborhoods,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Director of Public Safety Karrie D. Howard, and Police Chief Calvin D. Williams. “We remain committed to working with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that violent criminals are taken off our streets.”
These individuals are members of the “Laflexico” gang which primarily operates on the Westside of Cleveland near West 7th Street and Marquart Avenue, West 112th Street and Lorain Avenue, and West 90th Street and Madison Avenue.
On April 24, 2020, gang members participated in a shootout near West 31st Street and Clark Avenue in Cleveland. Dozens of shots were fired striking multiple residences in the area before they fled the scene. Many of the residences struck by gunfire were occupied by children.
On November 12, 2020, gang members were involved in a shooting near West 6th Street and Marquardt Avenue in Cleveland. They fired several shots that struck a nearby residence before fleeing the scene.
Gang members were involved in several other incidents that included illegally possessing firearms, fleeing from the police, and trafficking cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.
CPD’s Gang Unit conducted the investigation, along with CPD’s 2nd District Detective’s Bureau, that connected these eight individuals to the crimes. Several firearms, drugs, and cash have been recovered throughout the course of the investigation.
Each individual has been indicted on multiple charges that include:
- Participating In A Criminal Gang
- Felonious Assault
- Improperly Discharging Into Habitation
- Discharge Of Firearm On Or Near Prohibited Premises
- Improperly Handling Firearms In A Motor Vehicle
- Having Weapons Under Disability
- Carrying A Concealed Weapon
- Drug Possession
- Possessing Criminal Tools
- Tampering With Evidence
- Failure To Comply
- Receiving stolen property
Rodriguez, Gonzalez, and Fontanez are currently in custody. Arrest warrants have been issued for Watkins, Haley III, Pruitt Jr., Laws, and Looby.
Photo courtesy of Cleveland Police Department
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